Search Results for: social media

Research reveals associations between multitasking and lack of grey matter

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MultitaskingSimultaneously using mobile phones, laptops and other media devices could be changing the structure of our brains, according to a new study published by researchers at the University of Sussex. A study published last week in PLOS ONE reveals that people who frequently use several media devices at the same time have lower grey-matter density in one particular region of the brain compared to those who use just one device occasionally. The research supports earlier studies showing connections between high media multitasking activity and poor attention in the face of distractions, along with emotional problems such as depression and anxiety. But neuroscientists Kep Kee Loh and Dr Ryota Kanai point out that their study reveals a link rather than causality and that a long-term study needs to be carried out to understand whether high concurrent media usage leads to changes in the brain structure, or whether those with less-dense grey matter are more attracted to media multitasking.

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Sound, settings, serendipity and other lessons from 100% Design

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Workplace Hub by NBBJ

Workplace Hub by NBBJ

The trick with visits to exhibitions like 100% Design is to stay focussed on the wood as much as the trees. So as well as identifying the good, the bad and the meh, it pays to discern the themes pursued by the exhibitors and organisers. Leaving aside what was happening in the domestic halls, those related to the workplace  invariably derive from a mixture of what the exhibitors’ customers are talking to them about and what the media says people are talking about. So at this year’s show (still ongoing till tomorrow at Earl’s Court) some of the most readily identifiable themes included the dissipation of the workplace, privacy, ergonomics and serendipity. With the possible exception of the age old problem of ergonomics, these all relate to our changing relationship with work and workplaces, not least how we can – and indeed must – be able to work from anywhere and what this means both functionally and aesthetically.

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Portfolio working could become the norm in ten years time says KPMG

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Portfolio working could become the norm in ten years time says KPMGAt last year’s Worktech London, Charles Handy discussed the ascent of the portfolio worker. In a new survey by KPMG, 63 per cent of business leaders agree that portfolio workers will gain mainstream commercial acceptance within the next ten years. But some confusion remains as to just what constitutes a ‘portfolio worker’ as distinct from employees on flexible work schedules or freelancers. Just over a third (35%) of Generation Y respondents understood the term “portfolio workers” but they felt that they were simply freelancers by another name (78%), as did three quarters of the senior executives (76%) and the older respondents (74%). According to the survey portfolio workers differ from freelancers by having contracts in place with a number of different companies simultaneously, with a guaranteed number of hours of work from all during any given period of time. This approach, as Hardy has predicted, looks set to become the new way of work. More →

Workplace design is increasingly interwoven with the dynamics of the city

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workplace designThe Workplace Strategy Summit, held near my adopted home town of Reading in June attracted some of the world’s most renowned experts on workplace design and management. As is the case these days, much of the talk focussed on urbanisation, both in its own right and in terms of its influence on the design of work and workplaces. One speaker, Andrew Laing of Aecom argued convincingly that the city is just as much a part of the modern workplace as the traditional office. ‘As we explore the future of work and place, we are beginning to see a shift towards an urban scale in how we frame the workplace problem,’ he said. ‘Our starting point is perhaps no longer the office but the city at large. And what we mean by the city may not be the bricks and mortar urbanism of the twentieth century, but a bricks and mortar urbanism imbued with digital information and connectivity: a powerful combination of the physical and digital.’

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Five sectors, one challenge: The importance of high staff morale

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Five sectors, one challenge: The impact of high staff moraleEver since the 2008 recession, the economy has been in flux, affecting both small businesses and corporate giants. Yet, despite the uncertain economic climate, many start-up business ventures have not been phased by the challenges it brings. We recently conducted a survey to find out what the biggest challenges small businesses expected to face over the coming year. The survey revealed some interesting results, and led to the creation of five whitepapers suggesting some possible solutions as to how they might consider investing both their time and money to overcome these challenges. Across the five industries taking part in our survey (Health and Fitness, Finance, Technology, Retail and Travel), one of the most prominent challenges faced by SMEs was regarding staffing. Ultimately, each staffing issue related back to keeping employee morale high and, therefore, boosting productivity. More →

Book Review: Cubed: A Secret History of the Workplace by Nikil Saval

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Cubed: A Secret History of the Workplace

Cubed: A Secret History of the Workplace

Nikil Saval’s book Cubed: A Secret History of the Workplace pulls off that rare feat for a parochial business book of being intelligent and informed (which many are) as well as fascinating, entertaining and realistic, which is rather less commonplace. He pulls this off with plenty of references to pop culture including television series such as Will and Grace, films such as Office Space and The Apartment and, inevitably, the Dilbert cartoons. There is also a great deal of enjoyment to be had in the slightly jaded tone of his writing and brutal evisceration of the likes of Tom Peters who is singled out for special criticism. So too, his take on the very  idea of the ‘Office of the Future’ with its slides, basketball courts, pool tables and vivid colours.

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Workplace design and management of TMT sector aped by other firms

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Male midlifeThe publication of a report last week by the British Council for Offices highlights the wider impact of workplace design trends and commercial property arrangements  in the increasingly important Technology, Media and Telecoms (TMT) sector. Not least it suggests that they are having a transformational influence on the way firms in other sectors approach leases, workplace design and the changing nature of work. It is no coincidence that the TMT sector is the one most commonly associated with the employment of the much-talked-about Gen Y demographic, nor that the business practices most commonly associated with this overly-stereotyped group are those that are having the greatest influence in the way we design and manage offices.

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On Green Earth Day, a reminder of how we struggle to understand ‘green’

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Needle about to pop a green balloonToday is Green Earth Day and there are things happening all around the world and people are marking the occasion in many ways. The organisers claim one billion people will be active in 190 countries and so too will be many firms. Serviced office provider Regus, for example, is offering free use of its business lounges for one day. There is no such thing as ‘environmentally friendly’. The best we can hope for is to minimise and mitigate our impact on the environment. The problem with the idea that anything we do can be described as ‘environmentally friendly’ in any way is this: our existence is inherently damaging to the world in which we live. We do it some damage each time we get in a plane, train or automobile; every time we make or buy something; every time we eat, drink, breathe or fart. So if you want to be ‘environmentally friendly’ my advice is this. Resign from work. Then, go home, throw yourself on a compost heap and wait to expire.

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Allied London announces plans for development of former Granada site

Allied London announces plans for development of former Granada site

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hello-house-old-granada-studios-manchester-allied-london+1Property Developer Allied London has announced plans to transform part of the former Granada Studios site in Manchester into a new media hub when it takes control of the building in June. The new building is to be branded Hello House and will offer workspace specifically aimed at media and PR companies, including startups and SMEs as well as established businesses. Not only has the site already enjoyed a long associated with one of the UK’s most famous and well-established media firms, it is also be able to take advantage of Manchester’s growing reputation as one of the country’s most important media and tech locations. The revamped space will include a rooftop media bar and facilities to encourage tenants to work together and develop new joint opportunities. Allied London has already signed up its first tenants.

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A Silicon Valley office that embraces classic design to create its buzz

A Silicon Valley office that embraces classic design to create its buzz

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3026372-inline-oplusa-giantpixel0098It is now common for tech and media businesses to take inspiration for the design of their offices from their local Wacky Warehouse, with treehouses, slides, acid coloured cushions, chairs, play areas and other sub-juvenilia thrown into the building in the name of both ‘fun’ and an assumption that the Gen Y employees they are so patronisingly fixated on are only recently off the teat. Meanwhile some are clearly drawn back to the more sober, rational and classic styles that have long attracted corporations, especially in the US. There is something familiar about an HQ like that designed for San Francisco based software developers Giant  Pixel by Studio O+A which evidently harks back to the era of modernism and post war futurism associated with architect/designers like Eero Saarinen.

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2020 vision is a useless metaphor for far-sightedness in a number of ways

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Looking in telescope wrong wayThe year 2020 is a mere seven years away. Yet the designers of the future workplace and those who invite them to talk about it are still referring to it as if it marks the next frontier of human endeavour and as if we weren’t already up to our collective armpits in the 21st century. The idea of 20/20 vision is considered, in ophthalmological circles at least, to represent “normal” visual acuity and is dependent on the sharpness of the retinal focus within the eye and the sensitivity of the interpretative faculty of the brain. In practical terms, this means it’s about seeing and interpreting what is directly in front of us at a distance of around 6 metres. So as a metaphor for farsightedness regarding the future of work or workplaces it’s always been a poor one. And as we get closer to the eponymous year, it becomes worse day by day.

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Workplace Week highlights the changing shape of the office

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'High Street' at Network Rail's Milton Keynes base

‘High Street’ at Network Rail’s Milton Keynes base

This year’s Workplace Week  which took place last week was a great success, with more people participating and more money raised for charity. Across the week, over 500 people took part, visiting innovative workplaces, attending the Workplace Week Convention or going along to one of the many Fringe events. Workplace Week is organised by Advanced Workplace Associates and supported by CoreNet Global, BCS, RICS, FMA and BIFM. All proceeds go to the Children in Need charity. Around 60 people joined the speakers at the headquarters of PWC on London’s Southbank for the Workplace Week Convention to discuss ‘Driving productivity through the connected organisation.’ The informal atmosphere and roundtable format encouraged participation, with a focus on developments in organisational design, change management and technology.

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